As Aston Martin zeroes in on the final design and specs for its Formula One and Le Mans sports car-inspired 1,130-horsepower Valkyrie hypercar, the company has released new photos that show the latest iteration of its development, a stage that the company says is 95 percent representative of the final product.
While the eye is drawn to the car's slippery looking top surfaces, the wind is more interested in the car's underside, which is specifically contoured to exploit aerodynamic ground effects to suction cup the Valkyrie to the road at high speed.
Because of this, the cockpit is a teardrop-shaped central pod, with the front wheels and fenders standing free of the body. One of the latest developments in the Valkyrie's design is the addition of openings in the front fenders that help flow air over the car's front wing more effectively.
"Ordinarily the last thing we’d want to do to one of our surfaces is cut a hole in it, but these vents work the front wings so much harder that they’ve found a significant gain in front downforce," explained Aston Martin's creative director of exterior design, Miles Nurnberger. "The fact that they are so effective gives them their own functional beauty, but we’ve finessed them without impacting on their functionality."
The inside of the passenger cell is as unorthodox as the Valkyrie's exterior, with fixed seats (as we saw on the Ford GT) and raised pedals (as is typical of Formula One cars) that provide space beneath for air to flow under the car.
The cabin is so small on the outside that prospective buyers are skeptical they can fit until they sit in a prototype. "We’ve been fighting for millimetres everywhere, but the battle has been worth it, as it’s been fantastic seeing customers try the interior buck for size," said Matt Hill, Aston Martin's creative director of interiors.
"They love the ritual of getting in and how it feels to be sat behind the wheel," he added. "They’re also genuinely surprised at how the car just seems to swallow them. You really do have to sit in it to believe there is genuine space for two large adults.”
Once behind the wheel, drivers will find all of the information about the car's systems displayed on LCD panels, including one on the steering wheel, as is seen on race cars. Also, as with race cars, the steering wheel is removable to provide for easier ingress and egress.
A bonus is that it will be harder to steal the car if it doesn't have a steering wheel. On the other hand, the wheel itself could get snatched while you're at dinner, leaving no way to get home!